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Hemingway's Girl

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Overview

“She remembered when Hemingway had planted a banyan tree at his house and told her its parasitic roots were like human desire. At the time she’d thought it romantic. She hadn’t understood his warning.”
 
In Depression-era Key West, Mariella Bennet, the daughter of an American fisherman and a Cuban woman, knows hunger. Her struggle to support her family following her father’s death leads her to a bar and bordello, where she bets on a risky ...

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Overview

“She remembered when Hemingway had planted a banyan tree at his house and told her its parasitic roots were like human desire. At the time she’d thought it romantic. She hadn’t understood his warning.”
 
In Depression-era Key West, Mariella Bennet, the daughter of an American fisherman and a Cuban woman, knows hunger. Her struggle to support her family following her father’s death leads her to a bar and bordello, where she bets on a risky boxing match...and attracts the interest of two men: world-famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, and Gavin Murray, one of the WWI veterans who are laboring to build the Overseas Highway. 
 
When Mariella is hired as a maid by Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline, she enters a rarified world of lavish, celebrity-filled dinner parties and elaborate off-island excursions. As she becomes caught up in the tensions and excesses of the Hemingway household, the attentions of the larger-than-life writer become a dangerous temptation...even as straightforward Gavin Murray draws her back to what matters most.  Will she cross an invisible line with the volatile Hemingway, or find a way to claim her own dreams?  As a massive hurricane bears down on Key West, Mariella faces some harsh truths...and the possibility of losing everything she loves.
 

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  • Hemingway's Girl
    Hemingway's Girl  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Robuck drops the fictional 19-year-old Mariella Bennet into the life of Ernest Hemingway in her richly realized newest (after Receive Me Falling), set in Depression-era Key West, Fla. Mariella’s father has just died. In order to raise money to care for her mother and sisters, Mariella bets on a boxing match refereed by Hemingway. Though she loses the bet, Mariella befriends the famous writer and is hired as a housemaid for Hemingway and his second wife, Pauline. Soon after, Mariella and Papa Hemingway attend another bout where one of the fighters, WWI veteran and Overseas Highway worker Gavin Murray, becomes smitten with Mariella. As she struggles to balance her fascination with the Hemingways’ glamorous life and the prospect of settling down with Gavin, an enormous hurricane careens toward the Keys. As the winds pick up and the rains fall down, tensions rise and Mariella must choose which way to run. Robuck brings Key West to life, and her Hemingway is fully fleshed out and believable, as are Mariella and others. Readers will delight in the complex relationships and vivid setting. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"[Fans] will delight in the complex relationships and vivid setting." —-Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451237880
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 352,217
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Erika Robuck

Erika Robuck is a contributor to popular fiction blog, Writer Unboxed, and maintains her own blog called Muse. She is a member of The Hemingway Society and The Historical Novel Society. She is also the author of Call Me Zelda.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 63 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(33)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 63 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Loved everything about this book!!

    This is a book I could have read in one sitting if I didn't have to work & have other responsibilities - darn. I loved everything about this story. I had always "heard" that Hemingway wasn't the nicest of people, but this story, while fiction, painted him with such a soft, sweet heart - I loved it. It also prompted me to read more about him as well as read at least ONE of the stories he penned. I immediately read The Paris Wife after this one and up next is The Old Man & The Sea. You will NOT be disappointed by this book.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2012

    Robuck has drawn on historical documents to craft an impeccable

    Robuck has drawn on historical documents to craft an impeccable story of Hemingway's life in the 1930s--from a photograph of the author that includes a haunting young girl dressed in fisherman's clothes, to an account he once wrote about the unnecessary deaths of dozens of veterans and civilians during the destructive Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. This attention to historical detail is what makes Hemingway's Girl succeed; there is enough truth woven into Robuck's well-imagined story to inspire readers to learn more about the time period, the place and the author himself, and enough detail about the Keys to leave readers longing for a vacation to see the islands in person. Ultimately, Hemingway's Girl proves to be a stunning portrayal of a revered and oft-studied writer and a probing novel of family ties, love, betrayal and a love of the sea--all themes present, perhaps not surprisingly, in Hemingway's works as well.

    Excerpted from the full review, which ran in the September 14th issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Enjoyed this book

    I read this book for my book club, and was pleasantly surprised. I had to keep reminding myself it was fiction, because I found it very believable. The relationship between Hemingway and the girl was different than I expected, but in a good way. the Hurricane story was especially emotional for me, having had family members who lost their homes recently in Hurricane Sandy. A really enjoyable story!

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Erika Robuck gave me a fly on the wall look not only into the gr

    Erika Robuck gave me a fly on the wall look not only into the great novelist Ernest Hemingway’s personal life in Key West, but the relationships he made and broke, the ruined economy of post WWI Key West and the multi-cultural residents who populated the area. With simple easy to read dialogue she painted a real picture of the area, the time and it’s people that was both informative and imaginative. Her protagonist Mariella Bennet was a fascinating specimen of fortitude, attitude and humility and she will long be remembered in this reader’s mind and along with her multitude of wonderful eclectic characters made this novel a definite keeper as she educated and entertained me. It’s a hard to put down read so make sure your chores are finished before you pick this one up. Know that this journey was more than worth it’s time and I’m anxious for the next place this incredible storyteller wants to take me.

    It’s 1961 Key West Florida and after a day of deep sea fishing with her son Mariella learns of Papa Hemingway’s death. The news sends her back in time to 1930s Key West where the living was anything but easy, where left over depression still lingered in the Keys, in the shanty homes and the gaunt hopeless faces of it’s residents, to the year she met Papa, where only months before her own father had died. She was almost 20 the first time she met him, bigger than life and full of himself and he left an impression that never would or could die. She remembers that tumultuous year of her life and the role Hemingway and others played in it, she remembers falling in love, she remembers joy and sadness. She remembers the best and worst of times, she remembers just what Papa meant to her and she to him.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    I found this story to be a difficult read finish. Erika targets

    I found this story to be a difficult read finish. Erika targets a female audience in the 16 to 21 age bracket. If that is you, then perhaps you may enjoy this story.

    5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2012

    I loved this book

    I really enjoyed this book. I am an avid reader and just happened to stumble upon it on Saturday and thought why not. I read it in under 24 hours. I just thought it was that good. It really evoked some powerful emotions in me. I thought it was elegantly written.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

    The book led up up a startling climax that was entirely unexpect

    The book led up up a startling climax that was entirely unexpected and I learned details that I had not know before.
    Hemingway is such a giant it is hard to portray
    him in a human way byt Ms. Roebuck has shown us why he is a fascinating character.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    Better than I thought it would be

    I read the reviews and I thought it would just be a pleasant little story, but it hummed along pretty well. It was earthy and decadent with a dash of high drama in between. Glad I read it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2012

    A must read! Sucked in from page one by great character developm

    A must read! Sucked in from page one by great character development and storyline that made me not want to put it down. I LOVE a well written book that is able walk that fine line in terms of balancing historically accurate events with fictional characters and Hemingway's Girl does that better than most. Hands down one of the best books I've read this year.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 4, 2012

    A Vivid Look into Hemingway and the Florida Keys, A Must-Read H

    A Vivid Look into Hemingway and the Florida Keys, A Must-Read

    HEMINGWAY'S GIRL is a fictional look into the life of writer Ernest Hemingway and his relationship with his 2nd wife told through the eyes of Mariella, a maid in Hemingway's house. Robuck's novel shines a spotlight onto Hemingway's time in the Florida Keys similar to author Paula McLain's novel about Hemingway's marriage to Hadley in Paris, France, THE PARIS WIFE.

    In HEMINGWAY'S GIRL, author Erika Robuck takes readers back to 1935 along the Florida Keys where Ernest Hemingway lived with his second wife, Pauline, and their sons. The story begins the moment Hemingway meets Robuck's fictional character Mariella at a dockside boxing match. The pull and tug of the relationships in the novel take place in the alluring Florida Keys, along the ocean and below the sway of palm trees.

    HEMINGWAY'S GIRL is a moving story about 1930s life in the Florida Keys, the separations and ties between societal classes, the bravado and charm of iconic writer Ernest Hemingway, and the ways friends and friendships can either destroy us or help us to become better than we could be on our own.

    I enjoyed HEMINGWAY'S GIRL, and highly recommend it to all of my reading friends. Erika Robuck is a historical fiction author to watch, and I look forward to her next novel.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Mariella Bennet is the daughter of an American father and Spanis

    Mariella Bennet is the daughter of an American father and Spanish
    mother; her mother is paralyzed by grief after the death of Mariella's
    father. Mariella not only loved her father beyond words but also loves
    her Key West, Florida community which is struggling to survive during
    the Depression. Her dream is to save enough money to start a tourist
    business by running a charter boat. The sea is her home away from home;
    but her real life at the moment is earning enough to allow her family to
    eat and her to pay the rent. Into this world a miracle happens, one
    that will transform her life forever! One evening at fight on which she
    recklessly gambled away the rent money, she meet "Papa"
    Hemingway, famous writer. Hemingway is attracted to her and eventually
    hires her as "help" in his Key West home, a place where the
    Depression is notably absent and luxury abounds. A statement from
    Hemingway aptly exemplifies the novelist's relationships and is a
    warning to Mariella about the future, comparing a banyon tree to a
    parasite, feeding on others for its huge survival and strength.
    Hemingway's second wife, Pauline, is riddled with jealousy and Hemingway
    himself displays something of the same, albeit not as severely as his
    wife, when Mariella meets a fighter, Gavin. A romance clearly is
    growing between Gavin and Mariella, although Hemingway exerts a sexual
    attraction to her that confuses her. Meanwhile, her mother warns her
    about "desire" being dangerous and capable of wrecking her
    life. Gavin is a survivor of the famous Argonne battle of WWI and later
    in the novel describes the horror of losing his best friend and saving
    the lives of two other friends, one, John, who becomes a good friend of
    Mariella. These are men who are wounded beyond physical problems but
    who survive to live life to the fullest. In one way, Mariella's
    relationship with these three men and her family are a beautiful coming
    of age story, about the difference between real love borne from the
    highs and lows that life throws in one's path. The rest of the story
    depicts riveting scenes of illness, accidents, betrayal, a terrible
    storm, revelation of a secret, and letters of truth and honesty.
    Hemingway's Girl is a stunning, amazing read - a superb work of
    historical fiction that deserves best-seller status!!!

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2013

    Recommend

    I really enjoyed this book, it is a love story and at the same time a story of a love that almost was. The emotion is raw, the people rich and the plot touching. You will find yourself caring about the people and understanding their grief and love and why they made the decisions they make in their lives. Hemingway is so over bearing and yet compassionate and the life he tries to live is so full of un happiness. You will find yourself lost in their lives and the life of the Florida Keys.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    The first and only Hemingway book I read was The Old Man and the

    The first and only Hemingway book I read was The Old Man and the Sea in high school. After reading Hemingway's Girl, my interest is definitely piqued! Exploring this time period in Hemingway's life, learning the rich history surrounding him, the Keys, the War, and his family was fascinating! It made me want to read more. The author told a tale that was so engrossing and felt so real. The character of Mariella captured the attitudes and values of that time in history. I loved the setting, the characters, the story line, all of it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    Don't waste your time or money on this book. Even at the NOOK bo

    Don't waste your time or money on this book. Even at the NOOK book discount, I was disappointed.  I was hoping to gain more insight into Hemingway, but his character is  sadly shallow and underdeveloped in this book.  The protagonist, Mari, is a Cuban American with  21st Century insight and dialogue to match, totally not fitting with the early 1930's Key West in which she is placed.  The writing style is simplistic.   felt that I was reading "Run, Spot. Run."  This story line is tedious. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2013

    Superficial writing and frustrating to read given the lack of at

    Superficial writing and frustrating to read given the lack of attention to the era in which the story is set and the language and accoutrements of the time. For example the video camera, which she says a friend of Hemingway's is taking on-board the boat for a fishing trip, was Nt in existence for another 50 plus years! These  kinds of anachronisms mar the story and the good history that is there. I got so frustrated I didn't finish it. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2013

    Excellent

    Hard to put down, very thought provoking and emotional

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    Mixed feelings about the man

    Having recently read the Paris Wife and A Moveable Feast as well as this novel I find myself with mixed feelings about Hemingway the man. He was obviously a tremendously strong personality with equally deep character flaws.
    This novel makes that clear without being preachy or judgmental.
    I thought bringing in the story of the hurricaine was an excellent dramatic climax. We forget these days that you might just have a few clues thar a dangerous storm was on the way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2013

    Good read

    This is a work of fiction. That said it draws you in. I have never been a Hemingway fan. This book made me want to know more about the truth of his life. Maybe Mari did not act exactly as some think a woman of her status and time would have. But we do not know and for Papa's sake maybe he did have someone like her in his life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    Really good!!!

    I felt like I was living in Key West.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    A really good read, well written!

    Glad I read it, hated for it to end

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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